Second Hand is the new Black

second-hand-is-the-new-black

Werbung: unbeauftragt & unbezahlt // unpaid advertisement

Some time ago I asked you on Instagram if you buy second hand. The majority of you said yes, but a good part of you said no, too. That’s why I want to talk to you today about why I buy second hand and why I absolutely love it.

BEFORE, OH, BEFORE …
Before I started looking more into second-hand clothing, I looked down upon it. I thought only people who cannot afford new clothes would buy second-hand. I thought it was only something for babies, small children and the smallest child of five (or any other number) in a family. I thought second-hand clothing does look old and shabby. Nothing I’d ever want to wear. Oh boy, was I wrong… [I spoke about this attitude a bit more in my “It’s a privilege” post if you are interested.]

WHY DID I START BUYING SECOND HAND?
I began researching more about the fast fashion industry. I started with the documentary “The True Cost” (you can find it on Netflix). In Germany, the ARD Mediathek has some interesting documentaries, too.
It became obvious to me, that I cannot support the fast fashion industry anymore. I don’t care if it is a cheap or more expansive brand. They all produce under the same circumstances. How can I be angry about factory farming while still supporting fast fashion, where people die and you can find modern-day slavery? I simply cannot.

FAIR FASHION AS THE SOLUTION?
I decided I only want to buy fair fashion anymore. As you probably can tell, it never really came to it. Fair fashion is for my tight budget just too expensive. I ended up buying regular, fast fashion clothes again. I felt like a hypocrite, but what should I do? You might have the money for it, I’d have to save over a few months for a simple clothing item. That simply was no acceptable solution.
That’s not me saying, that I don’t buy fair fashion at all nowadays. Some things I simply don’t want to buy second hand. Underwear is a good example (because, bäh, do I really have to explain?). But most items I buy, I find them second hand. (I don’t buy much anymore, too just when I really need something.)
A couple of weeks ago, I went to a fair fashion store in Nuremberg. I loved it. And I really wanted to buy jeans there. I saw the price tag and I knew, I’d never been able to afford it. That was more money than what I’d spend in a month on food. So no, with a sad face, I turned around and left the store again. I don’t give up the hope, that one day, I might be able to afford fair fashion, till then, I had to find another solution.
On a little side note: Even though fair fashion is produced under fair working conditions, this does not mean that fair fashion is automatically better for the environment, too. Often organic cotton is used, too, that’s definitely good. The whole production process still needs resources, though, that would not be used, if you buy second hand. This does not mean, that you should not buy fair fashion. Please, buy it! But simply be a conscious consumer, who knows, that resources are used. That’s all I’m saying. The same thing goes for second-hand clothing, too. Your money maybe goes to someone, who spends it on more fast fashion. Just be aware of it and choose the option, that fits you and your life best!

SECOND HAND IS THE NEW BLACK!
Thanks to some influencers on Instagram (especially @dariadaria) I learned that second hand can look actually quite good. Your style can become more unique since you do not buy what thousands of other people are buying. The chances of finding the exact same item again, are quite small. This also means, that finding something specific can become more complicated. Sometimes you just need to have luck, sometimes you go home empty handed and you have to keep searching.

REASONS FOR SECOND HAND
You protect resources. No new resources have to go into the clothing items you buy. This protects the environment. Additionally, you save another item from being thrown away.
You do not support an industry, where people die in collapsing building, are treated like modern day slaves, face serious health issues from all the chemicals and so on.
It saves you money. Buying second hand is in most cases less expensive. You save money that you can save for the future or you use it to for example buy more organic groceries. Of course, even second-hand clothes cannot compete with 3$ shirts from some stores. But the quality for the price you pay is definitely better! It lasts you longer and you can save in the long run.
If you are vegan, you might even consider buying leather. I know, not everyone likes the thought of wearing leather. I personally don’t have a problem with it as long as it is second hand and I don’t support the industry. That’s because it is more environmentally sound to buy for example second-hand leather shoes than buying new vegan leather shoes.
You can wear all of the brands you love! I don’t know about you, but I’ve got this one shoe brand, that just fits my feet perfectly. They are not vegan and it’s definitely not fair fashion so I cannot buy new items from them. But second-hand is fine for me. So a few weeks ago, I got finally a “new” pair of good fitting shoes without any bad conscience.
You are in contact with fewer chemicals. When you buy second hand, the chances are that the clothes have been washed a few times already. This means most of the nasty chemicals, that make new clothing smell badly and just cannot be good for your skin and health, are gone.
As I already mentioned before, your style becomes more unique. Chances are, you won’t find in a second-hand store what you’d find at big clothing brands. That does not make second hand better or worse. Simply different. And I personally like my style to be different. Second-hand makes this a lot easier for me.

WHERE TO BUY?
I honestly prefer second-hand stores. They aren’t all beautiful and modern. Some just fit right into the cliché. But other ones are real gems, where you can find the most unique items, that fit perfectly to you and your style.
When I visited Munich (I had an appointment for my visa for the US there), I also went to the second-hand store PICKNWEIGHT. I bought two beautiful blazers, that are so unique, I would have not found them anywhere else (one is even from a British Brand, that does not sell in Germany).
When you, like me, do not have a second-hand store near where you live, you might want to look online. In Germany, we have the App Kleiderkreisel. That’s my personal go-to for second-hand clothing and I got most of my recent purchases from there. If you do not live in Germany, eBay is a good place to look, too (also for other second-hand items besides clothes obviously). A quick google search will show you other websites, that sell second-hand clothing in your country.
Flee markets are a good place as well. It obviously depends on where and how big it is, but even if you do not find anything, having spent a nice morning outside in the fresh air maybe even with a good friend cannot hurt anyone, right?
Last but not least, why do you not throw a “clothing swap” party with your best friends?

Do you buy second-hand? If not, why (no criticism here, I’m just interested)? If yes, where do you buy your second-hand items?

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Maura

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